What Everyone Needs To Know About Infant Formula Ingredients

It is a fact that infant formula can and has saved lives. But to say that formula is “just as good as,” or has equal benefits to, or is a safe alternative to breast milk is highly erroneous, and I think, dangerous.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post called Understanding Nutritonism and The Problem With Infant Formula. In it I listed a few of the ingredients listed on a can of Similac formula (which were derived from another post). Even though some of them were pretty gross (a lot of oils, sugars and genetically modified organisms, [GMOs]), I only listed the food ingredients to help illustrate why nutrients need to be added to formula, but also to show that to be “nutritious,” scientifically-engineered nutrients have to be added. But would you only choose to take vitamins and drink water in place of real food? How can that ever replicate anything that comes from nature?

Since that post I wanted to learn more. I remembered from reading the Appendix in Ann Sinnotts’ Breastfeeding Older Children for my book review that it covers everything you ever didn’t want to know about infant formula. The rest of this post comes from the information in her book, including the direct quotes.

Did you know that breast milk substitutes are categorized as food and therefore do not fall under the same stringent regulations as applied to pharmaceuticals, even though they are both managed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? According the the requirements from the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which infant formula falls under, “all manufacturers of infant formula muct begin with safe food ingredients, which are either generally recognized as safe (whose ‘generally’ is that?) or approved as food additives for use in infant formula.” The FDA does not monitor what ingredients are generally recognized as safe.

As scientists attempt to replicate human breast milk as closely as possible, the concoctions they prepare become more and more questionable and complex.

Lactose, fructose, glucose, maltodextrose, carbohydrate (corn maltodextrin, modified corn starch ,corn syrup solids), protein (whey, casein, soy protein isolate), fat (soy oil, coconut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, palm or olein oil*) – Usually sourced from GMO’s – vitamins, folic acid, pantothentic acid, calcium, minerals, phosphorus, iodine, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and other nutrients, such as rice starch, dietary fibre and amino acids, as well as nucleotides, which is something scientists have been disagreeing about their efficacy on immune system development for 15 years.

Hm. Okay, any big surprises? There is lots of sugar because in order to modify cow milk the protein and mineral content must be reduced and the carbohydrate content must be increased, and this is done by adding sugars. Protein and fat are obviously important, but what about their sources? So much more could be said but let’s move on to one of the newer additives.

“Following the research that showed positive cognitive effects of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) docosahexaeonic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) found in breast milk, nutrition-scientists came up with the latest novel ingrediets: LC-PUFAs manufactured fromplant sources. These LC-PUFAs contain triglycerides not found in human milk and are thus structurally different to the LC-PUFAs in human milk. The DHA in infant formula is extracted from fermented microalgae, Cryptecoiunium cohnii, and ARA is extracted from soil fungus, Mortierelle alpina.” These are new to the food chain, therfore the long term effects of these ingredients are not known. In addition, the extracting method is concerning. Hexane, a petroleum-refining by-product solvent is used to extract the oil. It is also a known neurotoxin and air pollutant.

There have already been studies done on the plant based LC-PUFAs and concerns are continually raised, both on its efficacy and side effects. In addition, there is the ethics. For instance, why, if there are known concerns, does its addition to certain formulas raise the price of that formula?

There is more. Marsha Walker, an executive member of NABA (National Association of Breastfeeding Advocacy) has produced a fully referenced assembly of scientific studies that show a cocktail of chemicals in infant formula, such as:

Aluminum, silicone, cadmium, MSG, phytoestrogens, GMO soybeans, phosphate, phthalates and Bisphenol-A.

Water is a major ingredient, and if it is contaminated by micro-organisms, “a formula fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhea, than is a breastfed child.” Even in developed countries water can be contaminated. Chlorine by-products, arsenic, solvents, insecticides and weed killers are common. As an example of this, in a town close to where I live, a boil-water-advisory comes up usually twice or three times a year.

The manufacturing process of formula can cause bacterial contamination. There are dates of recalls going back some 20 years that are posted on NABA’s website. Additionally, there is always room for human error. I remember a couple years after my first daughter was born hearing about a recall because metal fragments were found in a can of formula. Factory workers can add too much or forget to add important ingredients. Labelling can be erroneous. One would think these things should never occur, but they do, and there are countless examples that I am choosing not to share just because I don’t want to overwhelm you.

This information is not readily available unless you work hard to seek it out, but I think that once you know it’s important to share it so others may benefit. I chose to write this for any parent who may be unaware of the full implications of formula feeding. Education is power and everyone deserves the ability to make an informed choice. If you are interested in learning any more, I encourage you to get a copy of Ann Sinnott’s book. This is where I got the information and it is largely referenced and comes with much more detail. If you choose not to get her book but still want to know more, I encourage you to do your own research.

If this has been helpful to you please share it so it may be helpful to others. Any feedback is also welcome. Thank you.

An Unhurried (Breastfeeding) Journey

“When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live; a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, “I’m not going to be anything; I already am.” We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other… adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for after all, life is his and her journey too.”

-Professor T. Ripaldi

My home school learning consultant sent me that. While I am not one who often shares words of wisdom or quotes, I couldn’t help but pass this one along for its simple profoundness and the inspiration it gave me.

I have been finding myself on an unhurried journey. For as much as I want certain things to move forward (like my daughters’ unrelenting teasing of one another), I also have become acutely aware of how fleeting this time really is. My first baby is 6 years old! And my youngest, also the last child I will ever bear, is 3 1/2. These breastfeeding years are coming to a quick close no matter how long it sounds like I’ve been nursing (6 years and one month, in case you wanted to know).

Breastfeeding is such a special part of these early years for my whole family. For my husband, whenever he sees us nestled on the couch for the 3 o’clock witching hour nursing snuggle. For my oldest daughter, who enjoys being close by when her sister is nursing. She doesn’t remember her own breastfeeding years (she had 3 of them), but she knows how much it means to her sister, what an act of love it is, and how much it is a part of who we are as a family. Even my 17 year old step-son knows nothing different than my nursing his sisters to sleep. For me, it is so many things, all of which I’ve written about before, but it is also the last thing tying me to the baby years, like the wistful putting away of old baby clothes that I don’t really have to put away.

Although it is a wonderful positive thing that we are still nursing, it isn’t always a vignetted photograph of perfection. There are times I cringe when she wakes unexpectedly in the night and rolls over searching for the button on my nightshirt. There are times I meet her requests with a “No, not right now” or “No, not here.” But for any annoyance on my part I know that I will look back at this time with a sure wistfulness, not unlike the way I look back at my own childhood.

Why would I want to rush my children’s childhood joys the way we all look back and see our own childhoods – in fleeting images, memories that only take a second to recall?

If my child finds security, comfort and love in breastfeeding, if she sees her childhood, thus far, as including images of mommy and breasts, cozy blankets and quiet moments, then why shouldn’t I let her have that? Breastfeeding is her zest and joy. It is a large part of who she is, and while she will ultimately grow and change like we all do, if she isn’t ready to change her breastfeeding ways, then I’m okay with that. In a few months maybe my story will be different. She’ll be four in April. But for right now, I want to make sure that when we take the final path to weaning, she gets to be a part of deciding on that journey too.

The entire state of childhood can be viewed in this unhurried journey perspective. For instance my 6 year old still loves Dora The Explorer and cried when we went shopping for socks and we couldn’t find any in her size with Dora on them. I don’t like to support these media marketing kinds of things, but it made me realize that obviously society thinks that a 6 year old should be past liking Dora. I plan to let her enjoy Dora for as long as she wants. Anyway, the Spanish is finally starting to stick!

What are you not rushing in your child’s life?

An Interview With My Sponsor :: Child Organics

ChildOrganics is a small family business that focuses on children’s organic products. They carry a selection of organic cloth diapers, baby carriers, clothes, bedding, toys and body products.

Erica, owner of ChildOrganics says: In finding organic children’s products to bring to our customers we took many things into consideration. It was important to us that we chose companies that were ethical. We wanted to be sure our products at ChildOrganics were all fair trade and environmentally friendly. Many of the companies that we bring to you have gone above and beyond to make sure that they pay their workers a living wage and provide them with a safe and clean working environment. This is important to us. You will also notice that many of our products are made by Work at Home Moms (WAHMs). This is also very important to us here at ChildOrganics. This business was started as a means for me to stay home with my family, and we like to support other mothers doing the same thing. We hope you’ll enjoy our fair trade and environmentally friendly products.

What inspired you to start Child Organics?

I was working full-time as a sign language interpreter for the public school system. I thought I’d be prepared to go back to work after enjoying the summer off after having my first child. WRONG! I couldn’t bear the thought of going back to work and leaving her. I wanted to be home with her more than anything. My husband and I brainstormed and came up with ChildOrganics. We were already passionate about cloth diapering and it grew from there. I am forever grateful for that decision and support of my husband to start ChildOrganics.

What item is your best seller?

The eco-sheepskin has been our top seller for the last few years.

What item is your personal favorite?

I’m partial to the Zmooz and Cozzy dolls. I have picked one for each of my children as infants. I love the fact that they are filled with organic wool and can hold the scent of Mama if we are separated. Great for NICU babies.

What keeps you balanced in your family and work life?

I must confess I’m unbalanced in this area. Family comes first. I’m often on the computer catching up with work when I should be in bed. I think that’s a struggle with most work at home moms.

What inspires you these days?

My youngest inspires me with his constant curiosity and excitement because everything is new. My oldest inspires me because she is so full of love and life. My husband inspires me because he puts up with me everyday, he has incredible patience!

Do you have a favorite quote?

Yes. I’m not sure who to credit it to though. It always makes me think of our struggles with our middle daughter, Bella , she was only with us for a short 16 months. Naturally, we shed many tears and grieved in so many ways, and still are grieving in some respects. I like this quote because it points to something positive from all of the grief, that it has the power to make us a more compassionate and loving family.

“For every tear that falls from the eyes, a tear also falls into the heart. There it moistens the fertile ground of awareness, giving birth to greater compassion and love.”

Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has a favorite item too!

My baby wearing days are over but if they weren’t I’d be buying this gorgeous Storchenweige sling. It comes in many different fabric styles, but I think the one pictured is my favorite.

I am very proud to have such an ethical and environmentally-committed business like ChildOrganics as one of my sponsors. I hope you will take a moment to head over to their site and check out some of their products, Until the end of June they are offering Breastfeeding Moms Unite! readers 10% off . Just enter the code “disc10”.

She’s A Ballerina Again! With Prima Princessa Review & Giveway

Ballet School Dropout: My Daughter’s Story

The Prima Princessa presents Swan Lake DVD came along at a very opportune time in my life. See, I was going through my first very big disappointment-as-a-mom-of-a-five-year-old-daughter-ballet-school-dropout. Let me explain.

In January we decided to enroll our oldest daughter in her first extra-curricular activity. She chose ballet classes like her friend in school. She ended up being in the same class as her friend and was very excited to wear the requisite pink leotard, tights, slippers and tutu. But after a few classes she was struggling. The other kids had been at it longer and coordination isn’t her strong point. Luckily her teacher was sympathetic and offered to let us move into an easier class. She was reluctant at first to leave her friend, but courageously made the decision to give the other class a try. The difference it made in her enjoyment of the class and her confidence was outstanding. We were all thrilled.

Then they began learning their dance for the May recital. Everything was going along nicely until one day at the end of March when their teacher put the song they were practicing to on repeat. You know the movie Rain Man when Tom Cruise does something out of the ordinary, out of Dustin Hoffmann’s routine, and Dustin Hoffman goes a little crazy? Yelling and screaming, covering his ears and generally freaking out? Well, that’s what my daughter did. That’s what she does, though generally not unless her dad or I are around. Her teacher called me at home telling me I needed to come and pick her up, that she was very upset and refused to dance anymore. After we figured out what caused the panic attack the teacher promised my daughter she wouldn’t put any song on repeat ever again. And even though things had been going well in general, I gave her some other tips for supporting my daughter, just to ensure no one had to go through that again.

But after that day my sweet girl never danced again. We took her back every Thursday afternoon in April, but each time either her dad or I had to sit with her for the entire class because she was absolutely terrified. She was fine before we arrived. She was happy to get dressed for class and for me to do her hair, but as soon as we walked through the door she clung to us like we were sending her to the gallows. It broke my heart. I almost broke down crying in her class while encouraging her to dance and watching her very skilled and kind teacher do the same. Her teacher said to me “I don’t know how you do it,” and I told her “I don’t know how I do it either.” Every modification and accommodation that could be made for her was made. They even practiced their dances without the music, but she was done. We pulled her out of her ballet class three weeks before her dance recital. I never got to see her do her lion dance in the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She still refuses to show it to me at home. I have cried quite a few tears over this.
My Prima Princessa Review

Then a couple of weeks ago I got an email asking me if I would like to review the Prima Princessa presents Swan Lake DVD. Perfect for girls ages 3-6 who want to dance like a real ballerina. This meant my daughter could wear her ballet uniform, do ballet at home, and watch real ballet dancers perform Swan Lake all at the same time. I was so excited to watch this DVD with my girls I could barely contain myself. And lo and behold, my five year old ballet-school dropout loved it too. She copied the steps like an old pro, completely confident in her abilities to do so. She floated and fluttered with the biggest smile of confident contentment. My heart melted. It was the girl I watched on observation day only three classes in back in January. Back then they didn’t need to know a dance, they were just learning to point their toes and twirl in their tutus. They could move freely to the music and that’s what my daughter did, eyes closed, that sliver of a smile on her lips. We knew she loved it. She did. And now she does again. And so does her three year old sister who gets to dance ballet just like her big sister. It held their attention for the full length of the video too.

Prima Princessa is a 40 minute DVD that shows parts of each act of Swan Lake as performed by the Paris Opera Ballet. They also have a DVD of The Nutcracker. Most children and many adults (including me!) have never seen a real ballet performed, and this DVD not only shows you the performance, but narrates the story for you in a way that young children can understand. Art appreciation at its finest! Then between the acts your child gets to practice a basic ballet move, like un grand battement (a big kick), un jété (a jump), or une pirouette (a twirl), all demonstrated by clips from students of the School of American Ballet and practiced by a group of 3-6 year old girls in cute ballet outfits playing on the grass.

Regardless of my personal reasons for loving this DVD, I highly recommend it for any family of a young wanna-be ballerina. I was slightly disappointed that none of the child performers were boys because boys can like ballet too you know! But there are male dancers in the Swan Lake performance and that did generate the discussion I wanted to have about boys and men being able to dance ballet too.

***Disclosure: A free copy of Prima Princessa presents Swan Lake was sent to me in exchange for a review. All of the opinions contained within this post are my own and exactly how I feel about this product.***

To Preview: Visit the Prima Princessa website to watch a great preview of their DVDs.

To Buy: Visit Prima Princessa to find a retailer on line or near you.
The Giveaway

Prima Princessa is giving away one Prima Princessa presents Swan Lake DVD to one lucky Breastfeeding Moms Unite! reader.

To Win: Visit the Prima Princessa website and leave a comment telling me something you learned or saw on their site. You must do this to qualify for the prize.

Extra Entries:

For one (1) Extra Entry: (you must leave a comment for each one of these things you do)

Subscribe to Breastfeeding Moms Unite! by RSS or email.

Follow @bfmom on Twitter and retweet this giveaway: RT @bfmom If you know a girl who wants to dance like a ballerina Enter to win the Prima Princessa DVD (please leave a link to your tweet)

Become a Breastfeeding Moms Unite! Facebook fan

For three (3) Extra Entries: (please leave 3 comments per thing you do)

Post this giveaway on your Facebook page (leave a link)

Post about this giveaway on your blog.

Stumble this giveaway or another one of my posts. (Leave a comment telling me which one)

Contest open to residents of USA and Canada. Contest closes June 23rd, 2010 at 5:00 PST.

One winner will be chosen randomly using The winner has up to 48 hours to reply by email before I will have to choose a new winner. Good luck!

PS If you want to leave a comment about my daughter’s ballet story then you can do so in the comment section, but if you don’t want to enter the giveaway just tell me and I will remove your comment after I’ve read it and reply personally to your email. If you do want to enter the giveaway, just make sure you do the pre-requisite comment for the prize within the body of your comment about my daughter and I will reply to you via your personal email as well. Thanks!

An Interview With My Sponsor :: Annee Matthew

Annee Matthew is a maternity and nursing wear business that offers moms a wide range of clothing options. In their own words:

We create unique clothing designs for moms and moms-to-be. We are not just creating clothes, we are creating styles: Styles that will bring out the femininity and charm of the woman in you.

Style – Our style ranges from casual chic to classy comfort for every mood and move – stylish moms everywhere will love our designs!

Function – Our clothing is not only beautiful, but functional as well! All styles have discreet nursing access and many are dual-function – designed to be worn while pregnant and beyond for nursing! Get clothing that will last you from start to finish from pregnancy through nursing and beyond!

The following interview was conducted with Judy Masucci (yes, the same Judy of Mommy News and Views Blog and A Mother’s Boutique) via email.

When did you start the business Annee Matthew?

The company Annee Matthew was founded in 2001 in Singapore by Annie Neo. I opened the US Operations of Annee Matthew in April of 2008 and expanded it to include both the US and Canada in April of 2009.

What is your best selling item?

The Elena.

We have such a broad range of items, it is difficult to pick one best-seller. All of our dresses are very popular – with the Vanna and Elena being our two best sellers. For tops, the Geisha Wrap is our best selling top with the Melia Top a close 2nd.

The Geisha Wrap.

Which item is your personal favorite?

My personal favorite is one of our new items for Spring 2010. It is called the Banded Tunic and it is a really cute dress! It is flattering on all body styles and has a very unique nursing opening (in the pleats at the center of the dress) that can’t even be seen! It is also very affordable – making it a must have for any new mom’s wardrobe. I personally wear this dress and I’m not nursing anymore.

How do you balance your family life with your work life?

This is definitely the most difficult thing that any working mom has to do – and when you own your own business it is even more challenging because there is always something that needs to be done. I have one son, and he goes to pre-school 3 full days so that I can work. Monday’s and Friday’s are our days together and we usually have play dates or go to the zoo or do some other fun activity. He also spends a lot of time with me in my store/warehouse and is a great help! And he loves to meet my customers.

What inspires you?

My son was my original inspiration for this business. I wanted to help other new moms breastfeed. Even though he is no longer nursing, I am still inspired by him. I want to help other moms have the successful nursing relationship with their children that I was able to enjoy with my son.

Do you have a favorite quote?

A friend of mine posted this on facebook recently – and it is really a great quote: Motherhood: the days are long, but the years are short. I think that is my current favorite quote.

Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has a favorite too!

I really like the fact that Annee Matthew carries breastfeeding swim suits! The Front Twist Tankini lets you decide if you want to be “sexy” or “covered” by letting you choose your style of bikini bottom. And once you’re finished breastfeeding you can keep wearing it!

I love that Annee Matthew maternity and nursing wear isn’t like anything else you can get at the maternity shops and yet it is still affordable and that they have such a large selection. And they have a great deal of positive customer reviews for a large number of the items they sell. So if you want to check an opinion on the item you like then check out this page first.

I’m thrilled to have Annee Matthew as one of my Breastfeeding Moms Unite! sponsors. Please show your love and support by checking out the site. They have lots of summer inventory waiting for you!

Visit Annee Matthew on Facebook and Twitter too!

Why I Think Going to Blog Her ’10 Would Be Like Going Back to High School

I really wish I was going to Blog Her’ 10. But last year when the tickets went on sale we knew our life would be in limbo this summer so I purposely didn’t buy one. Of course I’ve been dreaming about it anyway. Except every time I dream about it, I find myself back at high school. Except now I’m the new kid who doesn’t know anyone (except a couple nice women I met on line – if only I can find them!) and I’m navigating my way through the cliques that fill the hallways, trying to find my tribe and hoping that once I find them they’ll accept me.

See my tribe of bloggers who I’ve never met but feel a certain kinship with are pretty damn popular. These are the women who I would band with in the protest of any massive swag attacks by Nestlé. (Elita from Blacktating wouldn’t be there to help us but she’s voting with her feet due to the Nestle sponsorship scandal). There’s Gina from The Feminist Breeder, and Annie from Phd in Parenting. But although I consider both of these highly intelligent and downright awesome women my bloggy friends, they probably wouldn’t be hanging out together. (Please don’t ask me to explain. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers here.) Which puts me in the middle. Just like in high school when my two of my best friends didn’t get along and I had to choose sides even though I could see both sides and just wanted everyone to get along already. Not that I think either of them would make me choose sides. It’s just an analogy people. Easily remedied by spending time with them separately or hanging out with Danielle from Momotics and Arwyn from Raising My Boychick. Who else among the lactivist and birth activist bloggers are going?

*Update: Gina and Annie have reconciled. So make sure you still continue to adore both of them and ignore what I said above.

I don’t think any of my Natural Parenting friends are going. You know who I’m talking about. Dionna from Code Name Mama, Amber from, Lauren from Hobo Mama, Paige from Baby Dust Diaries, Heather from It’s All About The Hat, and Maman A Droit. In a way I’m just that much more relieved that I’m not going because without them I think it would be like getting invited to a cousin’s sleep over party and not knowing anyone there. That always sucked.

There’s one crowd I really want into. My idea of the “cool crowd” but I’m really not sure if they’d accept me. Other than a choice few like Heather from The Mommypotamus and Alex from A Moderate Life I’m not sure if they accept me now. This would be the “real food” crowd. And I’m pretty sure at least some of them are just putting up with me because I do a good job of linking to their posts every week on my Vegetarian Foodie Fridays. See, I don’t eat meat and they do, so I think that they think (yes, this is so totally high school) I shouldn’t be allowed to hang with them because I’m doing my body a disservice. I disagree but I don’t make a big stink about it. They’re smart and know nutrition and that’s why I like them so much. And then my would-have-been, could-have-been vegan friends who I also think are pretty cool because they don’t eat dead animals don’t want to be my friend either (I’m just guessing) because vegetarians aren’t as pure as vegans – even though they think eating tofu is good for them and I know better. Although I also know that eating dessert is bad for you too but I’m still a fan of the mainstream food bloggers who know how to make a mean white chocolate cheesecake with blueberry sauce and table scape some mean napkins and matching dishes with a pretty sponge cake right in the middle. Oh, it doesn’t matter, I don’t think they’re going anyway. Where oh where do I fit in?

Maybe with the green bloggers? I do love them. Crunchy Domestic Goddess among others. They’d be my after school club friends. But I probably wouldn’t get too much time with them either. You know, because I wasn’t as committed in the club to saving the earth (even though I was at home!) and I chose to major in breastfeeding and minor in foods instead. Sigh.

Then there’s the über-popular crowd. I wouldn’t even bother trying to infiltrate this one. (Unless I ran into Cecily from Uppercase Woman who is nothing like most of the people I’m thinking of. She totally rocks my world and is super nice to boot.) I would like to meet and worship at Her Bad Mother’s feet but I think Catherine has enough of those kinds of followers already and I wouldn’t need to make a fool out of myself just to say hello, although at one of these shin digs I could liken to prom for strangers I would likely do or say something stupid to someone at some point. Even though I know they’re just people like me, I’d expect these rich kids (aka, profiting bloggers) would be too busy networking with each other and stroking each other’s virtual blog awards to take much notice of the crunchy breastfeeding blogger in the corner. Even though I’m hard to miss being 6 ft tall and everything. Hm, maybe that could finally start working for me. There’s no short men to intimidate at Blog Her right? To me these ladies are like the super hot jocks in high school. Everyone admires them and thinks they’re pretty smokin’ but no one is quite sure how to approach them.

Then there’s everyone else. Most of them who write blogs I’ve never even heard of yet. Some of them I follow on Twitter but until yesterday never checked out their blogs. (@mamabmy @militarymama @measamommy and @babydickey) Is subscribing to 103 blogs not enough? (I just counted). I’m pretty sure I would meet some of these women and be smitten with them immediately. But then I’m back at high school and I’m the the new kid and don’t have the confidence to approach them. I would feel like I should have something interesting to say to these people. “What’s your blog?” is probably the most asked question at Blog Her. But I guess that’s where a person starts right? We all go to Blog Her for the first time at some point and if we aren’t making triple digit dollars plus then we have to make connections somehow. I guess we’re all the new kid in the beginning. I’m just glad I get at least one more year to figure out how not to make Blog Her like high school. Or so I will keep telling myself once those Blog Her tweets start up in August.

Belated Birthday Express Pirates and Mermaids Party Post

Last month my youngest daughter turned three. We had a pretty wicked birthday party for her. It was a Mermaid and Pirate themed-party. I got the idea from Pink and Green Mama who did the same thing for her daughter’s party. (Although she did a much better job, since she is one of the most creative and artistic bloggers I know.) Anyhow, a month before her birthday I received the opportunity to choose $75 worth of party supplies from Birthday Express in exchange for a review of the supplies I chose. So this is my belated review and highlights of the party post.

The Costume

The thing I was most excited about getting the opportunity to choose was a mermaid costume for my daughter who has become crazy about mermaids. Not The Little Mermiad, mind you, just mermaids in general. Therefore, I was delighted that the Costume Express site had (at last count) eleven different non-Ariel mermaid costumes! Since I was getting the birthday girl a costume I decided it would be fun to ask our guests to dress up too. Therefore, the boys came as pirates and the girls came as mermaids (or princesses, since mermaid costumes can be hard to come by). This is the one I ordered for my daughter. The regular price is $44.99. I believe it was on sale for $21.99 when I ordered it.

My daughter is a size four so I ordered a size 4-6, but I was surprised how tight it fit her. I know she is a big girl for her age, but if a mother was purchasing one of these for her daughter I would suggest getting the next largest size. A true size 5 or 6 would NOT fit into this. The skirt part of the dress has shiny blue stickers on it. A few came off when she wore it the first time and a few more have come off since then. The dress came with a mermaid necklace (seen in the photo) and a wand (not pictured). My daughter loves it!

Fishes in the Fish Tank

When our guests first arrived I had them each colour a poster board fish I had cut out. Then they taped them onto a large piece of blue poster board that I had made look like a fish tank. I used long strips of green tissue paper as seaweed and wider strips of yellow tissue paper as the sand. For the photo I got my inspiration from go here. I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of our finished project! It was really colourful and fun. There was no game attached, instead it was a group art project. We kept it on the wall to enjoy as a reminder of the party for a few weeks afterwards.

Sea Monster, Sea Monster

After our art project we went out side and played Sea Monster, which is similar to What Time is it Mr. Wolf? One person is the sea monster. The children stand about 20-30 feet away from the sea monster and call out “Sea monster, sea monster, are you hungry?” and the sea monster says, “No. Take ___ steps forward.” The game continues until the sea monster decides he or she is hungry and says “Yes, I am!” and chases the children back to the starting point. Any child he or she catches is turned into a sea monster too. The game continues until there is only one child left who hasn’t been turned into a sea monster.

Running from the sea monster.

Treasure Hunt

After the Sea Monster game we came inside for the treasure hunt. I kept it easy and hid all the treasure together in the bathtub. We played “Hot and Cold” for the children to find it. Turned out to be a useful game since most of them had never played. And as one knows “hot and cold” is a pretty useful life skill. (wink)

The treasure consisted of stick-on jewels that are easily found at craft supply stores and gravel that I spray painted gold. The kids loved it. The treasure chest was something I found at a thrift store and decided it would be perfect as a gift for my daughter – aka, The Mermaid Queen. Inside I hid her birthday crown and some kiddie jewelry, which the other girls also received in their goodie bags later. At the time I thought I may have ended up ordering one less goody bag than I needed so this would have made up for it. In the end I was left with five extra ones! (Gotta love those cancellations!)

Pirates and Mermaids looting the treasure.

Birthday Cupcakes

Time for cake! I made my starting-to-get-famous-if-I-do-say-so-myself Vanilla Breast Milk Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting. (Except I didn’t use breast milk in them. Not to worry dear friends!) We got to use our super cool Pink Skull and Crossbones plates and napkins that I ordered from Birthday Express. There were also larger plates (not pictured) that had a picture of a pink skull in the middle of them. I liked that the plates were strong and sturdy enough to hold our snacks. I’m not sure if they’d hold up under a large and heavy meal, but they’d definitely do better than any of the cheap paper plates at the grocery store.

Goody Bags

After cake we did presents and handed out the goody bags. The goody bags were the one item other than the costume that I was really excited about, and they did look great; however, they were very time consuming and arduous to put together and it was difficult to get all of the treasure chest lids and purse flaps to close. By the time I had assembled all 12 of them I was ready to scream. But they were a hit and they did fit a lot of goodies in them. I ordered the press-on tattoos and stickers from Birthday Express. I also ordered pink, fuschia and black skull and cross bone balloons that I forgot to take photos of. The other items I bought at the local toy store.

All in all I was quite pleased with my order from Birthday Express and I would use Costume Express again if I was looking for a specialty costume. Their inventory was fantastic and they can outfit anyone from a newborn to adult. I’m not the kind of mom who spends a lot of money on birthday-themed dishes and decor, and I certainly would not regularly spend $40 on a mermaid costume so the change in habit was kind of fun. I tend to do more semi-green birthday parties than regular parties. But I made the exception this time because I’ve never had a party for my youngest where we invited friends (and all the fun stuff I was getting was free!). It is my opinion that parties for one and two year olds are more for the parents than the children, and that inviting a lot of kids to a toddler’s birthday can be more stressful and overwhelming for a young child than not. But my three year old is a pretty social little girl and her time for a party was certainly due. Thanks again to Pink and Green Mama for inspiring this great Pirate and Mermaids birthday party idea!

Update: Rabbi Shmuley’s Retraction and My Reaction

After a long day away from home and 57 comments on yesterday’s post Has Breastfeeding Hurt Your Marriage? I arrived to find a letter in my inbox from a representative of Rabbi Shmuley’s website. It turns out they’ve been receiving a number of comments (oh, really?!) and I appear to be the source of these comments. It turns out this article that The Feminist Breeder found yesterday was actually written a number of years ago. Since there is no date on the article, I was only alerted to this fact when Elita of Blacktating and a couple others mentioned in my comments section that they’d read this quite awhile ago (I assumed weeks not years). However, it was back in 2006, which is when Rabbi Shmuley actually wrote a retraction and new article, which was sent to me to post here for you to read.

Dear friends, Over the weekend our office received many emails from angry women saying I had attacked breast-feeding. One woman even said I had equated breast-feeding with adultery, which has to be one of the most flagrant acts of misrepresentation I have ever encountered. In truth, the article they were quoting, which they said was new, was written four years ago in June, 2006. Even then it was severely misrepresented, so a few months later, in August 2006, I wrote this response below, portraying my real views on the importance of both breastfeeding and marriage. Should the need arise, I will write an even newer response so that my views are in no way misrepresented. Thank you. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach My Real Views on Breastfeeding Children By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach This past June (2006) I wrote a column and became the anti-Christ, which, in itself, is quite a feat for a Jewish rabbi. To be sure, in my life I have not hesitated to be controversial when the situation warranted. But to become, in the eyes of my devoted readers, the twin brother of Saddam Hussein over a straightforward article on breastfeeding was, to say the least, unexpected. But OK, if I was wrong, I’ll admit it. True, as many of you will point out, I’ve never been wrong before. But I am, after all, human, that is, unless you’re one of my breastfeeding critics, in which case I am a bushy-bearded, one-eyed Cyclops. But first the facts. The column I wrote was in response to a New York Times report on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies. I noted that while no one disagrees that breastfeeding is much better for a baby than formula, as a marital counselor I had seen that in some marriages, admittedly a minority, breastfeeding could come between a husband and wife, its incessant demands serving as an impediment to romance. For many couples it meant not being able to go out on a date without the baby for months, and having the baby sleep in the matrimonial bed, with the inevitable deleterious effect on the couples’ love life. My solution: if breastfeeding created distance between you and your husband, don’t feel guilty about supplementing the breast with the bottle. Sounds innocuous, right? But the suggestion opened the floodgates of hell. Women who admired me as a lifelong champion of women’s rights, in books like ‘Hating Women’ and ‘Kosher Sex,’ felt betrayed. They were now calling me a misogynist because, in their mind, I took the side of male chauvinists whose selfish claim on their wives’ time imperiled their children, and whose need to eroticize their wives’ breasts took precedence over the role of the breast in feeding a child. Commentary on the article exploded all over the internet with the inevitable misquotation and misrepresentation. Suddenly, I was reading how I had dismissed breastfeeding as unsexy and destructive to marriages. Women’s breasts’ don’t belong to their husbands, was how critics castigated the article. One woman wrote a Blog saying, “Breastfeeding does not hurt marriages. Selfish fathers hurt marriages.” Less charitably, one blogger claimed that I had equated breastfeeding with adultery, which is one of the stupidest things I have ever read. My article, of course, said none of these things. So here is my real position. Firstly, I absolutely believe that women should breastfeed. My wife has breastfed every single one of our nine children. It was good for her, it was good for the children, and it good for our marriage because it endeared my wife to me to see the extent of her devotion to our children. When we took a cross-country RV trip this summer, I told my wife repeatedly that she should avail herself, on the long daily drives, of breastfeeding our baby completely rather than giving him the occasional bottle which she had begun. I believe that a woman’s first choice should always be to breastfeed So why did I write my article? Because when we make breastfeeding an outright obsession, we cause harm to those families for whom the practice is a hardship. For instance, many families are absolutely dependent on a wife’s income for their basic sustenance. So a few weeks after having a baby, a mom will often be forced to return to work. She will feel extremely guilty at not being able to breastfeed during the day. Should we dig in the knife by telling her that she is harming her children? Since formula, albeit as a lesser alternative, exists, should we make her feel that quitting a necessary job must be prioritized over her rent and food money for her children? To be sure, it would be much better, of course, if she were to stay home with her baby. But for many women, that is simply not an option. And yes, I realize that she can express milk. But for many women, who are already overrun with too many job and household responsibilities, the added chore of having to express milk prior to rushing to work, after getting their other kids ready for school and making lunch, becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Then there are all the women who simply cannot breastfeed do to medical considerations. Many moms simply don’t have enough milk. And every time they read one of these article about how cruel it is not to breastfeed, they feel like inadequate mothers. Furthermore, however much people will disagree with and condemn me, I have counseled many marriages where breastfeeding became an impediment to romance. We can criticize those husbands all we want for not being understanding about their children’s need to be suckled. And in those counseling sessions, I did. I made it clear to the men that love and romance is holistic, encompassing a spouse as woman, wife, and mother. But in the final analysis if a husband and wife both agree that the little time they have together is being compromised by the constantly demands of breastfeeding, then it is for them to make the choice of an alternative, without those wives being made to feel like they are horrendous moms. In my article, I gave the example of a couple who appeared on Shalom in the Home, even though the breastfeeding aspect was not included in their on-air story. Their marriage was passionate and their attraction strong until the birth of their baby boy. This should not surprise us since a Harvard study indicates that sexual activity between a husband and wife decreases by about 74 percent in the first year after the birth of a child. What increased the loss of eroticism for this particular couple was that the mother nursed her baby constantly, so much so that the husband no longer felt he even had a place in their marital bed and moved into a spare bedroom. When I met them the baby was already a year old. The mom told me that her sex and romantic life with her husband had atrophied because of her being constantly on-call to breastfeed. I told her that in her case, having nursed the baby for an entire year, there was nothing wrong with putting him on the bottle some of the time and that the family would be better served if the marriage was brought back from the brink. Many readers assailed me for that advice, arguing that I should have told the husband to stop being so selfish and put the interests of his children first. I would respond that the husband felt that he had done so for an entire year, but now wanted to share intimacy with his wife and felt unable to do so because the baby was always in their bed. I believe strongly that children should have their own beds and should not be sleeping with their parents. I am adamant about this advice, what hatred is shown to me for it. In this couple’s case, the wife would nurse the baby in bed and both would fall asleep. I am, in general, a great opponent of children sleeping in the matrimonial bed because, first, it is inappropriate, and second, it prevents parents from being lovers, and a bad and loveless marriage is ultimately detrimental to the children who are a product of that marriage. Giving up breastfeeding was the right choice for this couple because the wife herself complained that she was too tired for sex since she was up most of the night feeding. She also said that she and her husband had stopped going out together on dates because she had to be back to feed the baby. In the first year after the baby’s birth, they did not go out alone together even once. When she put the baby on the bottle, her love life was restored and she and her husband were happier. Who has the right to judge this couple, and condemn the parents for being selfish, when their only desire was to recapture the affection that had produced the baby in the first place? While I am a staunch advocate of breastfeeding, and would not recommend the above advice for most couples, including myself, if forced to choose between a couple’s romantic life and supplementing breastfeeding with the bottle, I would advocate the bottle. Period. And I will endure the withering criticism that I have of late to stand by this advice. I am in the business of saving families and reversing the out of control American divorce rate. The best thing for children is to see their parents in love rather than the children becoming yo-yos of a divorced household, pulled between Mom and Dad every other weekend. Even so, breastfeeding remains the correct decision for the vast majority of couples and husbands should go out of their way to support and encourage their wives in making that choice. However in a case where both spouses agree that breastfeeding has come between them, then the baby will survive perfectly well on a bottle. I have written many times that the greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother, and the greatest gift a woman can give her children is to love their father. In a healthy marriage, horrible as it may sound, the relationship comes before the children. In an unhealthy marriage, the parents put the children before each other. This, as an marital counselor can tell you, simply doesn’t work. Husbands and wives with small children should feel no sense of guilt getting a babysitter once a week so that they can be a man and a woman on a date again. And they should try and go away at least one, and perhaps, twice a year together, even though it means leaving the children with family or friends. Marriages have needs to, and if you starve your marriage it will not survive. Period. As for the many women who were puzzled by my advice that when they breastfeed they should do so modestly and try, even a little, to cover up, this is consistent with my advice, given in my book ‘Kosher Adultery’ and elsewhere, that even after marriage husbands and wives should not parade around the bedroom naked for fear that overexposure to each other’s bodies could invite erotic boredom. Yes, the breast is an organ beautifully designed by G-d for the nurturance of a baby. But even as it becomes an infant’s milksource, it should always retain its erotic allure. Surely every woman is, and wishes to remain, attractive in every phase of life, and surely a husband who truly loves his wife will always show her how indescribably beautiful she is to him – as mother, wife, and woman.

My reaction: He just said the same things only more respectfully this time.

While I disagree with many of his views 1.) that bed sharing is not safe and that it prevents parents from being lovers – um, I’m living proof that this isn’t an issue in my household, and 2.) that breastfeeding or pumping is not an attainable goal when a mother returns to work – for some moms it can be too difficult, but anyone who makes breastfeeding or providing their baby with breast milk a priority can make it work!) I appreciate that he highlighted (it was completely lost in his first article) that this is the advice he gave to this specific family who had their own specific set of issues, and that he wouldn’t necessarily give this same advice to everyone.

Personally, I agree that the relationship between a husband and wife needs to come first. Children need to see that their mom and dad love each other in order to learn how to love and be loved when they are older. However, this doesn’t have to mean make time for sex every night and screw the breastfeeding, and I do think that husbands need to suck it up for the first year or two while their child gets the best start in life. MIne has and he’s just fine thank you. Also, a baby doesn’t see anything outside of himself during the early years anyway. I’m not talking about witnessing abuse because I do think that can have a major impact on a child even when it’s an infant.

Other Ways To Be Intimate

A mother can decrease the amount she breastfeeds and ensure time with her husband. One way tot do this is to start putting the baby to bed at the same time every night. This is how I finally got my girls into a bedtime routine that allowed me to have time with my husband in the evening. But before either of them was two I was going to bed at the same time they did (usually 10 or 11 PM) because I was so freaking tired! It’s possible to do it when children are younger, but it wasn’t a priority for me or my marriage at the time. Another way to ensure intimacy is to be spontaneous! Sex doesn’t need to take place only at night in the marital bed. It can happen any time of day or night as long as you have time and anywhere you have privacy. Intimacy encompasses more than sex too. A gentle loving touch, love notes, sexy phone calls, sweet emails, a surprise make out session in the hallway, hugs and kisses and doing thoughtful things for each other that make each other’s lives easier and sweeter knowing that the other person did it because they love you.

It seems to me that Rabbi Shmuley’s first article passionately vented his personal opinions about breastfeeding and women and his second article was written after he’d composed himself a little. It’s too bad he didn’t write the second article first. I think he could have saved himself a great deal of negative press.

Affaire Bassory, le fils d’Alassane: « Mon père m’a engueulé pour mes déclarations

VANNES – Le Vannes Olympique Club (VOC) fait le buzz sur internet depuis qu`un de ses joueurs amateur nommé Bassory Ouattara a assuré être le fils de l’opposant Alassane Ouattara.
« Oui c`est mon père », a encore répété lundi ce joueur surnommé »Sory » qui, à 21 ans, joue depuis deux ans en amateur au sein de l`équipe réserve de division d`honneur du Vannes Olympique Club (Ligue 2).

« Je vis la situation difficilement car ma famille là-bas peut être attaquée à tout moment (…) j`ai fréquemment mon père au téléphone, il me dit qu`il est serein, que Gbagbo partira », disait-il samedi dans un entretien au quotidien Ouest France.
Ces déclarations, relayées sur divers sites internet, radios et journaux, ont suscité un démenti officiel de la part du camp Ouattara rétranché au Golf.

« L`information que vous avez donnée est fausse, M. Alassane Ouattara n`a pas de fils du nom de Bassory Ouattara », affirme le communiqué publié lundi par le journal français Ouest France. Le porte-parole d’Alassane Ouattara, Patrick Achi, avait estimé sans convaincre que le jeune joueur est un « affabulateur » et que ce qu`il dit est »plein de contre-vérités ».

« Sory » maintient: selon lui, Alassane Ouattara est bien son père biologique mais c’est son oncle Gaosso Ouattara qui l`a reconnu à sa naissance. Il a assuré que son père lui avait téléphoné lundi matin pour lui « passer un savon » à cause de ses déclarations publiques.
« Les choses s`enchaînent, mon père m`a dit de ne plus parler aux médias, pour ma sécurité on me demande de quitter Vannes mais je ne veux pas car j`y vis », a-t-il déclaré.